Despite all the scheming, murder, and double-crossing, the eighth episode of the House of the Dragon comes across as bittersweet. A head is sliced, yet we don't feel shocked at the sight. The episode feels equivalent to a sage who has accepted everything good and bad about human nature. Hence, there is no attempt to make us jump from our seats. Instead, we watch the episode with a knowing wink. These characters are either digging their own graves or traveling through hell. Even if there is a shred of friendliness here somewhere, it will soon be burned to ashes.
The episode begins with a problem of succession that needs to be settled. Lord Corlys has apparently injured himself during a battle in the Stepstones and his brother, Vaemond, wants to take over. But Rhaenyra wants Lucerys to be in charge, something that was also announced by Corlys himself. To settle this issue, Rhaenyra and her husband Daemon travel to King's Landing, where they find Alicent looking over the royal matters.
King Viserys, as expected, has become weaker. He is so weak, in fact, that he looks like a ghost. This is why he wears a mask to cover one side of his face when he appears in front of everyone. His appearance also reminds us how crucial he had been in empowering Rhaenyra. Take this episode as an example. Just when Rhaenyra thinks she will lose in front of Vaemond, Viserys arrives in the court and fills her with confidence. Vaemond makes the mistake of calling her whore because, after that, Daemon horizontally slices his face in half.
The high point has to be the feast, where Viserys makes a desperate plea for peace among his loved ones. The scene is suffused with anger, resentment, joy, and celebration. Viserys' presence adds a melancholic feeling as he watches his family smiling and dancing for what seems like the last moment of happiness. The kids are already cruel. We find out that Aegon had forced himself on a servant. He also inappropriately harasses Rhaenys' granddaughter, who would soon marry Jaecerys. Aemond, with that eye patch, looks evil. He has become a powerful figure. He can really fight, and then he also has a mighty dragon.
The dinner scene evokes a variety of responses from within us. From within the simmering tensions, a genuinely heartfelt moment emerges between Alicent and Rhaenyra as the former asks the latter to stay a little longer. Both secretly wish they could be best friends again, as they were all those years ago. But we know this flicker of warmth will only extinguish and not burn with passion. And so, we arrive towards the end, and yes, Viserys finally dies as the credits begin to roll. We knew this was bound to happen, yet his death triggered a poignant response. Maybe because we understand that now things are about to drastically change, and not for good. The cracks will become wider and wider.
Reviewed by - Vikas Yadav
Follow @vikasonorous on Twitter
Get all latest content delivered to your email a few times a month.
Bringing Pop Culture News from Every Realm, Get All the Latest Movie, TV News, Reviews & Trailers
Got Any questions? Drop an email to [email protected]